Skip to main content

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: bluedevil Date: Oct 6, 2011 11:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Non- Dead ... and Chief Justice Roberts is still a jerk

And Clarence Thomas should be removed from the bench, but I digress (from online New York Times):

In Supreme Court Argument, a Rock Legend Plays a RoleBy ADAM LIPTAK
Published: October 5, 2011
WASHINGTON — Jimi Hendrix made an appearance at the Supreme Court on Wednesday in an argument over whether Congress acted constitutionally in 1994 by restoring copyright protection to foreign works that had once been in the public domain. The affected works included films by Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini, books by C. S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf, symphonies by Prokofiev and Stravinsky and paintings by Picasso.

Jimi Hendrix joins a growing list of artists cited by the court. The suit challenging the law was brought by orchestra conductors, teachers and film archivists who say they had relied for years on the free availability of such works.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. posed the general question in the case this way: “One day I can perform Shostakovich. Congress does something. The next day I can’t. Doesn’t that present a serious First Amendment problem?”

Then the chief justice, a pioneer in the citation of popular music in legal discourse, asked the question slightly differently, invoking Hendrix, the great rock guitarist, to test the limits of the government’s position. “What about Jimi Hendrix, right? He has a distinctive rendition of the national anthem, and assuming the national anthem is suddenly entitled to copyright protection that it wasn’t before, he can’t do that, right?”

The solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., making his debut in the post, said there were good reasons to allow Congress to restore copyright protection to works that had entered the public domain, even at some cost to free expression by performers and others. Responding to the chief justice’s hypothetical question, Mr. Verrilli said that “maybe Jimi Hendrix could claim fair use.”

The 1994 law applies, he said, to foreign works that had not been eligible for copyright protection before the United States joined and implemented an international convention. The terms of the newly copyrighted works, he added, expire on the same day they would have had they been copyrighted since their creation.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said there was nothing unusual in granting copyright protection to works that had once been in the public domain. In 1790, she said, Congress “took a whole body of public works and gave them copyright protection the day they decided to pass the copyright law.”

Anthony T. Falzone, representing the challengers to the law, disputed that as a historical matter saying that “that was the first copyright act, and Congress established a baseline.”

Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because she worked on it as solicitor general. That raised the possibility of a 4-4 tie that would automatically affirm a decision of the federal appeals court in Denver, which had upheld the law.

There is reason to think, Mr. Verrilli told the court, that American authors and artists will be treated better abroad because foreign authors and artists have received expanded copyright protection here.

Mr. Falzone questioned that. Congress, he said, “took speech rights of 250 million Americans and turned them into the private property of foreign authors, all on the bare possibility that might put more money in the pocket of some U.S. authors.”

Near the end of his argument in the case, Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545, Mr. Falzone returned to the chief justice’s reference to performers like Hendrix.

“There can’t be any doubt, as I think Chief Justice Roberts got at, that the performance has a huge amount of original expression bound up in it,” Mr. Falzone said. “It’s the reason it’s different to see King Lear at the Royal Shakespeare Company; it’s the reason it’s different when John Coltrane plays a jazz standard.”

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 6, 2011 2:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Non- Dead ... and Chief Justice Roberts is still a jerk

This is ridiculous!! Wasn't it Prokofiev who said. "once I have conducted it, I'm done with it, now it belongs to everyone." I'm sure Rhino Records is involved in this.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: DeadRed1971 Date: Oct 6, 2011 2:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Non- Dead ... and Chief Justice Roberts is still a jerk

No, this is a challenge by conductor Lawrence Golan and others to the URAA (Uruguay Rounds Agreement Act) which caused numerous works which had become public domain to be placed under copyright protection. In Golan's case, it would have potentially caused him to have to pay royalties to conduct music (such as the works of Igor Stravinsky) which had previously been removed from copyright, or had never been copyrighted in the US.

This case has been back and forth in the federal courts for about 10 years as Golan v. Ashcroft, Golan v. Gonzales and now Golan v. Holder (whomever the AG was at the time).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 6, 2011 2:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Non- Dead ... and Chief Justice Roberts is still a jerk

I understood, i was just having fun as the Roberts comments reminded me of some of the comments that are made around here every time Rhino/GDP releases a show and the soundboard gets pulled from this site.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: AlecWest Date: Oct 21, 2011 6:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Non- Dead ... and Chief Justice Roberts is still a jerk

I honestly don't expect much common sense from this Court. But, I always hold out hope for a surprise.

The first U.S. Copyright Act was based on the British Statute of Anne which wrested control of copyrights from the Stationer's Guild - a powerful lobby with ties to the King. And its purpose was to prevent the creation of "rights kingdoms."

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution says, in part, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Notice the word "exclusive." This means the creator and ONLY the creator was entitled to rights. Not heirs. Not licensing agents. Just the creator. And every Copyright Act from 1909 on has chipped away at that right and have led to the "rights kingdoms" the founding fathers feared most (RIAA, MPAA, etc.).

And now, we have a new twist to all this. The Constitution gives the Government the right to make treaties. But, what if the making of a treaty violates Constitutional 1st Amendment protections and protections against ex-post-facto laws?

It would be nice if the Supreme Court sided with citizens. But I suspect they'll side with business (the rights kingdoms). Still, like I said, I always hold out the hope of being "surprised." (grin)